About the Fort
Mobile was originally founded by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville in 1702 as Fort Louis de la Mobile at 27-Mile Bluff. After the Mobile River flooded and damaged the fort, Mobile was relocated in 1711 to the current site. A temporary wooden stockade fort was constructed, also named Fort Louis after the old fort up river. In 1723, construction of a new brick fort with a stone foundation began, renamed later as Fort Condé in honor of Louis Henri de Bourbon, duc de Bourbon and prince de Condé.
The Fort guarded Mobile and its citizens for almost 100 years, from 1723-1820. The fort had been built by the French to defend against British or Spanish attack on the strategic location of Mobile and its Bay as a port to the Gulf of Mexico, on the easternmost part of the French Louisiana colony. The strategic importance of Mobile and Fort Condé was significant: the fort protected access into the strategic region between the Mississippi River and the Atlantic colonies along the Alabama River and Tombigbee River.
The Fort and its surrounding buildings covered about 11 acres of land. It was constructed of local brick and stone, with earthen dirt walls, plus cedar wood. If the fort had been reconstructed full-size, it would cover large sections of Royal Street, Government Boulevard, Church, St. Emanuel, and Theatre Streets in downtown Mobile.
From 1763 to 1780, England was in possession of the region, and Fort Condé was renamed Fort Charlotte in honor of King George III’s wife. From 1780 to 1813, Spain ruled the region, and the fort was renamed Fort Carlota. Finally in 1813, Mobile was occupied by United States troops, and the fort was renamed again as Fort Charlotte.
In 1820, the U.S. Congress authorized sale and removal of the fort because it was no longer needed for defense. Later, city funds paid for the demolition to allow new streets built eastward towards the river and southward. By late 1823, most of the above-ground traces of Mobile’s fort were gone, leaving only underground structures.
The current Fort, spanning almost 1/3 of the original fort, was recreated at 4/5-scale on the site. The new Fort was opened on July 4, 1976, as part of Mobile’s celebration of the United States bicentennial.